Ranjib has an edge in 4th RS seat race

Bhubaneswar: Uncertainty continues to loom large over the fourth Rajya Sabha seat even if Congress nominee and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal has an edge over his rival Ragunath Mohapatra, backed by ruling BJD as an Independent candidate.

Going by poll equations, the former LS member needs the support of three more legislators for a smooth passage to the Upper House, since the party has strength of 27 in the state Assembly.

Assuming that Biswal gets the support of Independent legislators Braja Kishore Pradhan and Jitu Pattnaik, the president of Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) and long-serving Indian cricket team manager needs the lone crucial vote that would pave his way for debut Rajya Sabha innings.

At this juncture, in reality, ailing Basudev Majhi (Cong), who could have solved the party’s much-needed requisite number, is unlikely to turn up to vote on February 7.

On the flip side, the ruling party will be left with only 18 lawmakers after its support for three nominees – Panchayati Raj miniser Kalpataru Das, Textiles minister Sarojini Hembram and former minister AU Singhdeo.

If Padma Vibhshan awardee Mohapatra gets the support of Independent legislator Rajendra Sahu, Adikanda Sethi (CPI), Pratap Saranghi (Ind) and BJP’s six members, he still needs three more votes to register a win over Biswal.

Political analysts however believe, hard-nosed bargaining and horse trading cannot be ruled out in such a situation when both the ruling party and Opposition would try to get their candidates elected ‘by hook or crook’.

In the current Assembly, the BJD has 107 members and the Congress 27, the BJP six, the CPI one while there are six independent members.